The nightmare I’m having every night

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I’ve been having nightmares every night for the past two weeks. While I’m in a dead sleep I’ll sit up in bed, put my feet on the floor, and sit there while the nightmare plays out.

In the nightmare I’m always playing outside with my son, and Evangeline runs by, sometimes she’s running into traffic, sometimes towards the edge of a cliff or climbing over the railing of my balcony. And I lunge for her, but I always miss. And I wake up because I’m lunging across my bed, or jumping forward head first into my dresser, or I just feel like I’m catching myself just before falling off a high roof.

Then I wake up, startled and groggy, and apologize to my girlfriend if I’ve woken her up because I fell on her. Sometimes I’m convinced I had been screaming, but my girlfriend never hears anything. Then I’ll lay down and fall back to sleep.

My girlfriend will, sometimes several times a night, wake up to find me sitting on the edge of the bed, asleep. And she’ll try to pull me back down. Sometimes I lay down, sometimes I can’t. It depends where I am in the nightmare. Because sometimes I’m playing with our son, and everything is fine, and sometimes I’m trying to save Evangeline and, for some fucking reason, I have to be sitting still on the edge of the bed to do it.

That’s it. I’m still taking the pills, I’m still taking the slow-release insulin at night, but I rarely take the quick acting stuff with my meals. Mostly because I’m not eating meals, I’ve reverted back to waiting until I’m running on empty before stopping for a snack.

I’ve kept my girlfriend, her oldest son and our son here with me since Evangeline died. I think, mostly, so we could all grieve together. Or be each others security blanket. But, with the four of us in my apartment, it also allows me the excuse not to grieve. If that makes sense.

Basically, I need to write to get things straight in my brain. I can’t write if there are people around. The longer people are around, the less I can write, the less I grieve, the more often I have nightmares and wake up because I just dove face first into my dresser trying to save a ghost.

Tonight (Saturday) my girlfriend’s oldest son was acting out (a little) so my girlfriend took him back to her place. So tonight it’s just me and Victor, and he’s sleeping soundly.

But still, if I’m going to get these nightmares dealt with, I think I’m going to need a few days and nights to myself.



Tragically Hip, “Nautical Disaster”, Day For Night (1994)

I had this dream where I relished the fray
And the screaming filled my head all day
It was as though I’d been spit here
Settled in, into the pocket
Of a lighthouse on some rocky socket
Off the coast of France, dear
One afternoon four thousand men died in the water here
And five hundred more were thrashing madly
As parasites might in your blood
Now I was in a lifeboat designed for ten and ten only
Anything that systematic would get you hated
It’s not a deal nor a test nor a love of something fated
The selection was quick, the crew was picked in order
And those left in the water
Got kicked off our pant leg
And we headed for home
Then the dream ends when the phone rings
“You doing all right?”
He said, “It’s out there most days and nights
But only a fool would complain”
Anyway, Susan, if you like
Our conversation is as faint a sound in my memory
As those fingernails scratching on my hull




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Mental Health, Pregnancy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The nightmare I’m having every night

  1. markps2 says:

    I thought that Tragically Hip “Nautical Disaster” song was about Dieppe. “The Battle of Dieppe was a disaster for the Canadians. Nearly 1000 Canadians died and nearly 2000 were taken prisoner.” thanks for the link to the hip-museum. Thanks for the update.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    I was never sure what the song was about, I just loved the imagery and the nightmarish quality to it… but then, a bunch of years ago, a cousin explained to me it was about the sinking of the Bismarck. Our grandfather served on the HMCS Hood, but transferred off just a few weeks before the final battle.

    I included the lyrics and video because it just fit with how I’m feeling. Thanks, Mark, for commenting.

  3. *sigh* Gabe.. here, I can see you’re on the verge. Have you just broke down and bawled? You NEED to grieve, honey. If not just for you, for your girlfriend, Viktor, and her other son. It sounds like a lot, but they can’t lose you too, to this… this.. slow, painful death in your heart. At least that’s what common sense says; unfortunately, this isn’t a real sturdy place for common sense to have footing. I can’t even pretend to know what to do in your guys’ shoes.. I’d be inconsolable. But when you let it all out (try being alone for a bit.. you need to) you can begin to heal again. and please, even from here.. let us know if there’s anything we can do. It’s one thing to be there RIGHT after.. but true friends, albeit internet friends, will be there for you whenever you need.

    • Gabriel... says:

      Thanks Heather, for noticing and for asking. I’ve never been very good at crying, but I did a lot of it while I was writing this piece. I don’t think I’ve actually broken down yet, but I did feel better after I wrote this, and I even had my first non-nightmare dream the night I published it. I’ve slept by myself the past few days… actually I’ve been up all night and sleeping all day since I wrote this. Which is something I used to do — pre-recovery — when I was trying to protect myself from having to deal with stuff. My girlfriend and both boys are over tonight for the first time since Saturday night, so we’ll see how it goes.

      I was a little short-tempered tonight for a while, with all the extra noise, but I escaped to the balcony to watch the sunset and everything was fine afterwards. There just seem to be too many loose ends with this particular instance of grieving. It’s like, every time I turn around there’s someone whose hurt feelings need to be soothed, or an explanation to be given or received.

      …thanks again Heather.

  4. Hi Sweetie,

    I’m going to have to email you, as I have too much to say re: this post, and the one you wrote after it. I will say this, though. I can barely face my own blog, so reading yours is the only way of keeping me going when I can get online these days.

    Wee, nin-JAH PA is going to to try to face herself online, but no promises. Not much of a nin-JAH, hey? Also, I owe a certain someone a reply as well. I may not get past those two things.

    xoxoxo (for each of you.)

  5. FatBat says:

    Boycott Big Pharma!

    • Gabriel... says:

      Hi Owen. So… on a post about my recently (then) deceased daughter, you’re trying to make a point about… actually I have no idea. I’m going to guess it has something to do with man’s inhumanity towards man, or how pharmaceutical companies want us all to be diagnosed with a disease so they can make money off us, or that you’re a raging douche fucker who can’t help fingering himself like a meth addict whenever you have an opportunity to post troll comments semi-anonymously on the Internet.

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